Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Bit Drafty

In HOME TO HAWK RIDGE, Steve Rider is a teamster. He's a logger and uses a team of horses to harvest trees. This is big business in some parts of the country. It's a low impact alternative to clear cutting. We used a team when we just wanted a few big trees removed from our property, but didn't want someone to come in and chew up the forest with a big machine.

In my story, Steve's favorite mare is a Percheron. Beautiful Beth, a shining black beauty. Percherons are a draft breed, like the familiar Clydesdales and Belgians. They are also called plow horses, but that phrase conjures up an unfair clumsy image. Does the horse in the photo look clumsy to you? But they certainly are work horses. I'm amazed by their strength and willingness to cooperate with insignificant fleas like us.

Steve handles his team with the ease of an eight-year-old girl handling her bicycle. He's done it all his life. He knows horses and he knows trees. In my story, he's about to get to know a bit of magic.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


An Interview with Katerina Bauer, the heroin in my latest release, Home to Hawk Ridge
I caught up with Kat out at Steve's farm. She pulled her nose out of his bookkeeping long enough to talk a moment.

KAT: (giggles) Seems funny to be called a heroin.

GEM: In my story, you call yourself “a bit of a witch”. What do you mean by that?

KAT: I was raised in a household – not a home – of self-proclaimed gypsy witches. There was always talk of spells for this or that. My heritage, on my mom’s side of the family, has a long history of herbal magic. From as early as I could remember, I heard about how I would need to create my personal enchantment potion. Every gypsy witch has one. And it was made very clear to me that mine had better be a whopper, because I had very little charisma of my own.

GEM: You’d been sort of programmed into a life of self-doubt. Why do you think your family did that?

KAT: Of course I didn’t realize it growing up, but now I think the aunts resented my mother’s strength and independence. And of course—I look different than anybody else in the family! I’m a fair blonde in a household of dark beauties. It was pretty simple to single me out and make me feel like a freak. Steve thinks that it was because I was the most beautiful—Layla was jealous. He has an especially strong resentment of her. Can we move on? I’m not a Bauer anymore.

GEM: Sure. So do you still call yourself a witch?

KAT: Hmm. No, but I still do simple charms every now and then. Especially on Steve’s horses. They respond so nicely to natural magic and Steve appreciates their improved moods. I don’t fascinate people.

GEM: Really….?

KAT: Okay so maybe a little bit—to get a good table in a restaurant or extra whipped cream in my latte.

GEM: I work hard to give my characters a recognizable character arc. I want them to grow as the story progresses. Did you grow in Home to Hawk Ridge?

KAT: I did! Very much, thank you. I am much more confident in myself and happy with who I am. I came to Hawk Ridge with no compass—no direction. I knew my aunts were deceitful and what they did was wrong. I wanted to make a fresh start but didn’t trust myself. The first thing I did was a right out of the gypsy handbook! I cast a spell on Steve. That was wrong. Magic is still a part of who I am, but it’s not the answer to life’s problems. Not for me. Honesty and courage are more powerful.

GEM: Does Steve let you drive his team?

KAT: Heck no! He's so powerful with those big horses. I take Beth out for long rides though. I have a wonderful connection with her.

GEM: Good luck Katerina. You’re a beautiful person, inside and out. Say hey to Steve and Dorothy and the McBeth’s!

KAT: Will do. Thanks Gem.